Thiruvonam Aashamsakal! Enchanting Kerala reverberates with chants of Onaashmsakal, “To everyone, Onam Wishes”. People exchange warm greetings of the occasion on this tenth and most important day of Onam. People believe that on Thiruvonam [Thiru Onam], the spirit of legendary King Mahabali visits Kerala.
Activities begin from the early morning. People clean their homes, take early baths, and wear new clothes. They participate in special prayers organised in individual homes and then in local temples. Later, the most biggest and special of all days, Pookalam is prepared to welcome King Maveli. Clay mounds in the shape of pyramids representing Lord Vishnu and King Mahabali are prepared. These are placed in front of the Pookalam.
At noon, a grand feast of Onam called Onasadya is prepared. This strictly vegetarian meal consists of 11-13 mandatory dishes. The meal is served following traditional rules on green banana leaves. The eldest member of the family gives gifts of new clothes to the family members.
Various cultural events are organised all over the state of Kerala to mark the day. The highlights of the day include dances, games, and shows that people get together to enjoy. In addition, Patassu [fire crackers] are ignited to celebrate the occasion.
Some rituals are observed on the Avittom [eleventh day] and Chatayam or Chathayam [twelfth day]. However, the major celebrations are over on Thiruvonam [tenth] and most important day of Onam.
Ten days of Onam: